clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Purdue's JaJuan Johnson Wins Player Of The Year, Buckeyes' Aaron Craft Named Sixth Man

The Big Ten Conference office announced on Monday the 2011 All-Big Ten men's basketball teams and individual award winners. Purdue's JaJuan Johnson captured the conference's highest honor, as he was named Big Ten Player of the Year by the conference coaches and media. A unanimous first-team All-Big Ten pick by both coaches and media, Johnson was joined on both first teams by Ohio State freshman Jared Sullinger, Wisconsin junior Jordan Taylor and Purdue senior E'Twaun Moore. Wisconsin senior Jon Leuer was voted to the first team by the conference coaches, while Penn State senior Talor Battle was recognized on the media's first team. Nine of the 16 standouts named to the All-Big Ten first, second and third teams were seniors, while one freshman, one sophomore and five juniors were also honored.

In addition to the All-Big Ten teams, the conference announced the men's basketball individual award winners. In addition to being named Player of the Year, Johnson earned the nod as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year by the coaches. Ohio State's Sullinger was tabbed the unanimous Big Ten Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and media, while teammate Aaron Craft was selected as the Sixth Man of the Year by the coaches. Purdue head coach Matt Painter was chosen Coach of the Year by the coaches and media.

Johnson becomes the third Boilermaker to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors, joining Stephen Scheffler (1990) and Glenn Robinson (1994). He is the fifth Boilermaker to earn Defensive Player of the Year along with Ricky Hall (1984), Porter Roberts (1996), Kenneth Lowe (2003-04) and Chris Kramer (2008-10). This marks the first time a player has won both awards in one season since Illinois' Dee Brown accomplished the feat in 2005. Johnson leads the conference in scoring in overall games (20.5), ranks first in Big Ten play with 20.7 points per outing and also leads the Big Ten in blocked shots with 73 in all games and 45 in conference play. Johnson is joined on this year's Big Ten All-Defensive Team by Michigan State's Delvon Roe, Ohio State's Craft and David Lighty and Wisconsin's Taylor.

Sullinger was recognized for his instant impact during the 2010-11 campaign, becoming Ohio State's sixth Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Sullinger joins former Buckeyes Jim Jackson (1990), Greg Simpson (1993), Michael Redd (1998), Greg Oden (2007) and current teammate William Buford (2009). The newcomer finished the year with 17.1 points per game in conference outings, good for first on the team. He also ranked second in the Big Ten in rebounding with 9.4 per conference contest. His inaugural campaign was highlighted by setting a school freshman record with 40 points in a game as well as setting the record for most Big Ten Player of the Week awards won by a freshman with four. Sullinger and Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. were unanimous selections on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and are joined by Illinois' Jereme Richmond, Iowa's Melsahn Basabe and Ohio State' Craft.

Craft becomes Ohio State's third Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year since the award's inception in 2006, joining Daequan Cook (2007) and B.J. Mullens (2009). The Buckeye leads all conference freshmen in steals (64) and assists (145), while leading the Buckeyes in both categories. Craft also leads the conference in steals, averaging 2.06 per game, becoming the first newcomer to lead the Big Ten in the category since 1991.

For the second straight year, Purdue's Matt Painter was honored as the Big Ten Coach of the Year after guiding the Boilermakers to a 25-6 overall record and a 14-4 mark in conference play. In his sixth year at the helm of his alma mater, Painter has led his teams to at least 20 wins in each of the last five seasons. The selection marks the 10th Coach of the Year honor in Purdue history and third for Painter since earning his first laurel in 2008.

This year's All-Big Ten first-team lineup includes multiple two-time honorees, including Purdue's Johnson and Moore, marking the fourth time in school history the Boilermakers have produced two first-team honorees in a single season (also in 1975, 1988 and 2010). Penn State's Battle is the program's first two-time honoree, also earning the recognition in 2009. Wisconsin's Leuer and Taylor become the first Badger duo to garner first-team honors in the same season. Ohio State's Sullinger is the first freshman on the first team since Indiana's Eric Gordon in 2008.

The conference office also announced honorees from each team for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for men's basketball are Illinois' Bill Cole, Indiana's Kory Barnett, Iowa's Jarryd Cole, Michigan's Stu Douglass, Michigan State's Delvon Roe, Minnesota's Blake Hoffarber, Northwestern's Mike Capocci, Ohio State's Dallas Lauderdale, Penn State's Tim Frazier, Purdue's Moore, and Wisconsin's Keaton Nankivil. These 11 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.